OHSU takes part in unique Alzheimer's treatment trial

October 16, 2002

PORTLAND, Ore.-- Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are taking part in a multi- center, national clinical trial aimed at preventing the progression of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The trial involves the use of a drug named LY450139, which in mouse models is shown to inhibit an enzyme implicated in the formation of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain. These deposits, also called plaques, may be responsible for brain cell death and decay, and have been connected to Alzheimer's disease. A total of six sites in the United States are taking part in the clinical trial.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will involve 70 subjects newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Each subject will take the drug or placebo twice daily for a period of 16 weeks (50 percent receiving placebo). Throughout the testing period, researchers will track each subjects' memory and thinking abilities through various cognitive tests. Researchers will also measure the amount of beta-amyloid in participants' brains through spinal taps.

"If the drug is successful, we expect to see a rise in amyloid levels in the spinal fluid," said Jeffrey Kaye, M.D., an investigator and director of the C. Rex and Ruth H. Layton Alzheimer's Research Center at OHSU. "This increase would be due to the breakup of amyloid deposits in the brain. So far, most research has centered on treating the symptoms of Alzheimer's. This is one of the few trials in the country aimed at stopping the progression of Alzheimer's by preventing brain cell death. If this approach is successful in people with established Alzheimer's, then, in the future, this compound may also have the ability to prevent or delay onset of the disease."

The C. Rex and Ruth H. Layton Alzheimer's Research Center at OHSU, formerly the Oregon Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Center, is one of the nation's leading research and treatment centers in neurodegenerative diseases. In cooperation with the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the center combines research, diagnosis and care for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. An estimated 4 million Americans, including approximately 60,000 Oregonians, currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease.

Oregon Health & Science University

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